Mulling a DIY weekend garden project and coming up with a case of the blank slate blues? Even the most experienced gardeners occasionally have a hard time knowing exactly where to start when tackling a new project.
We can help! I've singled out these examples of plant combos from our site that include to-scale planting plans. Figuring out which plants to situate next to each other to achieve a desired aesthetic effect and how much room to leave between each is a common struggle, and I hope that these planting plans will help you get a better feel for how to do this.
Getting the layout just so makes all the difference in terms of how a plant combo will play out in the garden—it's the difference between a mushy, amorphous scene lacking focus, and the creation of a pleasing vignette that includes a clever echo of color, texture or form. Below, you'll find a sampling of inspiring planting combinations that rely on a limited palette of plants arranged in flowing, contiguous ribbons and/or dotted about to create a unified scene.
Visualizing the mature size of a plant and getting plants properly spaced out in your new garden beds can be tricky. It can be hard to imagine the garden filled-in when you're looking at bare ground and skimpy, just-planted-plants, and it's tempting to squish it all together for a quicker fill. But resist the temptation — it's worth the effort to get the spacing right the first time, because you'll be saving yourself heartache in the long run. If you're still hankering for that lush and full look right away, fill in the open spots with annuals and other non-permanent plants that can be removed to accommodate the planned-for plants.
As you're laying out your new planting beds, be sure to make them deep enough. Fair warning, you'll probably want to make them deeper than your first instinct. Deeper garden beds allow for a more effective layering of plants—the secret sauce that will help you to create garden scenes using a variety of plants carefully selected to look great over many months. Naturally, the size of your outdoor space is going to have a major impact on what you'll be able to do, but if you can avoid anything smaller than 6 to 8 feet deep, you'll be happier with the result and have a lot more plant options to choose from.
Note: As I formulated the planting plans, I tried to use dimensions you'd likely find in your home garden. For example, the medium-sized planting beds are typical of what you might find at your front entry. That said, the dimensions of your home garden beds will likely differ from our examples, unless you're starting a new garden from scratch.
Shopping Tips: Count the quantity of each unique symbol to determine how many of each plant are needed to recreate the garden as drawn. As an example, I've tallied the first one for you. Keep in mind that not every nursery will have every plant at all times, so I've assembled some helpful tips for making plant substitutions that maintain the integrity of the design.
I Want to Hear from You: Have you used one of our garden plans, or are you planning to plant one this season? If so, I'd love to hear
from you! Let me know if you've found the planting schematics helpful and if you have any feedback for me to consider as I create more plans. Better
yet, share some photos of your project with us!
PLANTING COMBINATIONS THAT INCLUDE A PLANTING PLAN
Bed Dimensions:15 feet wide x 10 feet deep
Shopping List, with Quantities:
- (3) Berberis 'Orange Rocket'
- (3) Carex testacea
- (1) Ceanothus 'Victoria'
- (1) Cedrus deodara 'Silver Mist'
- (1) Juniperus 'Daub's Frosted'
- (4) Lavandula 'Hidcote'
- (1) Rosa 'Radway Sunrise'
- (7) Hen and Chicks with Burgundy Foliage
For full information about the individual plants, follow the link to the plant combo.
Focus: Four Season Garden, Foliage First, Contrasting Foliage and Texture, Color Theme, Low Maintenance, Mixed Border, Winter Interest, Saving Water, Privacy and Screening
Exposure: Full Sun, Sun, Filtered Sun, Morning Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade
Zone: 7, 8, 9
Focus: Mixed Border, Foliage First, Low Maintenance, Seasonal Flow, Small Space, Winter Interest
Exposure: Morning Sun, Filtered Sun, Bright Shade, Part Shade
Zone: 7, 8, 9
Focus: Saving Water, Contrasting Foliage and Texture, Foliage First, Front Yard Garden, Hellstrip / Parking Strip, Low Maintenance, Mixed Border, Privacy and Screening, Winter Interest, Seasonal Flow
Exposure: Full Sun, Sun
Zone: 7, 8, 9